"It's a long season," Popovich said. "We weren't going to win that game." – from Mike Bresnahan’s LA Times article
You’re assuming Pop is referring to the outcome of the game. Wrong. He’s admitting to why he didn’t put his starters in the fourth quarter after trailing 79-66 at the end of the third. In other words, he quit. I’ve never seen an NBA coach throw in the towel down 13 points with an entire quarter to play. Pop is basically admitting that his team was not good enough to beat the Lakers no matter what the Spurs did on the court. Wow. My jaw is literally on the floor. Hey Pop, are you sure that the Lakers are an ENTIRE QUARTER better than you? Doubtful. But Popovich does make one thing clear. There are the Lakers and then there is everyone else in the West.
I’m always reluctant to make any kind of judgment based on one or a series of games. There’s still another half season of basketball to play. But when a coach with four rings is the one assessing, I’ll take his word for it.
The Lakers are not going 39-0 to finish out the season. There will be the loss to that sub .500 team in February and that heart breaker against a contender in March. What’s scary about this team though is that when healthy (barely), they have no equal in the West and have already beaten the two best teams in the East at home. With a road trip in Cleveland and Boston weeks away, we’ll know a lot more about this Laker team. Until then, I’ll let Phil Jackson take it away with a quote from the same LA Times article…
Asked if he has any specific concerns about the Lakers, Phil said…“I really don't."